samy says indian workers banned then say no

January 8th, 2008 by poobalan | View blog reactions Leave a reply »
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Something funny went on now. News started to trickle in that all visa for foreigner workers from India and Bangladesh (including professionals) were suspended since end of last year, Dec 2007. Read below articles from Reuters ( 6.20pm) and BBC. However, a newer article on Reuters at 7.05pm says that no such thing happened. Looks like Samy Vellu made a big blunder. Telling the indians that their workers are not wanted, in their own country!

Earlier, Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) issued a statement expressing shock that permit for temple priests, sculptors, and musicians will not be removed by the govt. Read about it at:

http://poobalan.com/blog/religion/2008/01/08/no-more-work-permit-renewal-for-religious-workers/

Malaysia denies ban on India, Bangladesh workers

Tue Jan 8, 2008 7:05pm IST
source
 

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – A Malaysian minister denied on Tuesday that his governmenthad suspended the recruitment of workers from India and Bangladesh.

"I just spoke to my prime minister … There is no truth in the statement released by Reuters … It's not true means everything is status quo," Works Minister S. Samy Vellu, the only ethnic Indian member of the cabinet, told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in New Delhi.

"Indian workers are already there. When it is needed, they are welcome."

Earlier, a Malaysian Home Ministry official told Reuters that the cabinet had decided about two weeks ago to freeze the intake of workers from India and Bangladesh. Other ministry officials had then confirmed the ban but gave no reason.

About an hour before his denial, Vellu had said the country had enough foreign workers.

"The government decided it is enough and we don't want to recruit any more because we have enough workers," he told Reuters at the conference. "Is it wrong?"

The minister's press secretary later said those comments should be "disregarded", saying they were made before the minister had adequate information.

Relations between India and Malaysia have been hurt by recent allegations of discrimination against the ethnic Indian community in this Southeast Asian country.

Ethnic Indians staged a mass anti-government protest in November, alleging that the authorities had sidelined the community under an affirmative action policy that favours the majority ethnic Malays.

From Reuters: Malaysia bans intake of India, Bangladesh workers

Tue Jan 8, 2008 6:20pm IST
 

Source

By Jalil Hamid

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia has suspended the recruitment of workers from India and Bangladesh, the government said on Tuesday, in a move one official said could be linked to a recent uproar about Malaysia's treatment of its ethnic Indians.

The ban, which took effect on Dec. 31, 2007, could further strain India-Malaysian relations after some Indian politicians sympathised with ethnic Indians who complained they had been marginalised by the Malay-majority government.

"The cabinet decided about two weeks ago to freeze the intake of workers from India and Bangladesh," a Home Ministry official told Reuters.

"Those already in the country will not have their work permits renewed," he said. "The ruling applies to all workers, including expatriates."

The news came as Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony ended a three-day visit aimed at boosting defence ties.

Other ministry officials confirmed the ban but gave no reason. The government had said in October it was trying to determine exactly how many foreign workers the country needed.

"Frankly speaking, we have got enough workers," Works Minister S. Samy Vellu, the only ethnic Indian minister in the cabinet, said on the sidelines of a conference in New Delhi.

"The government decided it is enough and we don't want to recruit any more because we have enough workers. Is it wrong?

Malaysia also decided on Tuesday to ban foreign workers at all major airports in the country, state news agency Bernama reported, citing Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Najib said the ban must be complied with as soon as possible, although the government realised that companies carrying out various works at the airports had to make some adjustments.

"We will issue rulings to Malaysia Airports Bhd to ensure that the workers are Malaysian citizens," he said.

Latest figures up to last Sept. 30 show Malaysia was home to about 2.2 million legal foreign workers, with 35 percent employed in factories and 17 percent in plantations.

Indonesians made up the highest number at around 60 percent, followed by Nepalese (11 percent), Bangladeshis (9 percent) and Indians (7 percent), government data showed.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was due to visit Malaysia on Friday, seeking to smooth relations between the two neighbours following disputes over cultural theft and ill-treatment of migrant workers.

"DRASTIC STEP"

Indians are mainly employed in restaurants and in the construction, information technology and financial services industries.

The Indian government said it had no immediate comment but some Indian professionals said they were upset.

"They (the Malaysian government) should not take such drastic steps. They should recognise the contribution made by Indian workers and professionals in the economic growth of the country," said one Indian professional who declined to be named.

A Malaysian inter-faith group criticised the ban, which it said would hit the intake of foreign priests and temple workers.

"This sudden decision without any dialogue or consultation with us is unprecedented," said A. Vaithilingam, president of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism.

Relations between India and Malaysia have been hurt by recent allegations of discrimination against the ethnic Indian community in this Southeast Asian country.

Ethnic Indians held a mass anti-government protest in November, alleging that the authorities had sidelined the community under an affirmative action policy that favours the majority ethnic Malays.

Some Indian politicians, including Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee, voiced concern for the ethnic Indians.

Around 7 percent of Malaysia's 26 million people are ethnic Indians, whose forefathers were brought over as labourers by British colonial rulers.

From BBC:

Malaysia bans Indian recruitment


Malaysia has suspended the recruitment of workers from India amid rising domestic tensions.
source

A government official said the decision might be linked to the actions of a group that led protests complaining of discrimination against ethnic Indians.

But the official did not say why the decision had been made, nor how long the restrictions would last.

The ban will affect thousands of manual labourers as well as professionals, including religious workers.

There are currently about 140,000 legal workers from India in Malaysia.

"The government decided it is enough, and we don't want to recruit any more," Malaysian Works Minister S Samy Vellu told Reuters new agency, while at a conference in Delhi.

The Indian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur told the Associated Press it had contacted the relevant authorities but did not give any further details.

'Unprecedented'

The move to freeze visas for all workers from the two countries was taken three weeks ago, the government said.

But Tuesday's announcement took many people by surprise.

A Vaithilingam, president of a Malaysian inter-faith group, said that the decision came without dialogue and was "unprecedented".


The BBC's correspondent in Kuala Lumpur, Robin Brant, said it was a significant diplomatic move by the Malaysia government.

A Home Ministry official told the BBC that the decision "may be linked to Hindraf", the Hindu activists group which organised recent rallies by Malaysian ethnic Indians.

Thousands of ethnic Indians took to the streets late last year in protest against perceived social and economic discrimination by the Malay-Muslim majority.

The announcement came on the final day of a visit to Malaysia by Indian Defence Minister AK Antony.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said Mr Antony "did not raise the issue of ethnic Indians in Malaysia," reported the French news agency AFP.

An unnamed Indian professional told Reuters that the Malaysian government should not have taken such a drastic step.

"They should recognise the contribution made by Indian workers and professionals in the economic growth of the country," he said.

Our correspondent said that tensions are high with a general election expected to take place early this year.

Many people fear a repeat of the racial violence which has broken out in the past.

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